Where the phallacies have no name

…except, possibly “U2 Tower.”  <Cringe>

It’s like the gods could tell I was looking for content and sent Pax Corey, prophet that he is, along to proclaim the wonder attrocity that is this planned Dublin development.  Of course it’s not so much phallic as cheese-grater-ish, but regardless represents a huge departure (at least in this rendering) from Foster’s normally wonderful work.  I mean, yes, his London Gherkin is also an elongated protrusion:


But it has some neat features: the diagonal grid is the whole structural system (though there may be some interior columns as well) and consists of a single repeating joint and link (with slight variation to give a curved facade), which is pretty elegant.  Atriums intersect every level and follow the diagonal grid up, creating these beautiful sloping green spaces, hundreds of feet in the air.

So, the “U2 Tower” (the name requires quotation marks), will possibly have some redeemable features, but these are not immediately evident.  The apparent triangular grid on one side of the building doesn’t count, as this has become a Foster cliche.  Not that it’s a bad thing; just no longer original.  As for the suspended, egg shaped recording studio: WTF?  I have no idea.

The worst part is, as always, the lack of respect for context — and I don’t mean because the building is ‘modern’ in style.  That’s fine.  I mean that it’s ten times taller than any other building, dominating it’s neighborhood.  Randomly located skyscrapers is part of what I like to call the Los Angeles school of urban planning.  And what is LA most often used for in urban planning circles?  That’s right, a counterexample.  So don’t do it, Dublin.

Sometimes saying no is truly the Sweetest Thing.

7 comments to Where the phallacies have no name

  • Kevin Donoghue

    ‘… ten times taller than any other building, dominating its neighborhood. ”

    I live in said neighbourhood (about 200 meters away) and I don’t see that as a problem. It will stand at the confluence of the Grand Canal, the river Dodder and the river Liffey. So it’s not as if it’s going to block out anyone’s light. Is there some beautiful structure nearby which will be overshadowed in an aesthetic sense? Only if the local dog-racetrack has some merit which is not apparent to mine eye.

  • I’ll certainly defer to local judgement, as it is your city and I’ve never been to Dublin. Maybe it’ll be great.

    However, the lack of aesthetic appeal of the existing neighborhood is no reason to build an ugly structure, especially considering that a U2 monolith will be difficult to replace later. If it’s a choice between the existing design and nothing, then maybe you bite the bullet. But, it would be relatively easy to redesign at this point, so why not?

  • Kevin Donoghue

    If a redesign is an improvement then of course I’m for it. But given Foster’s track record I don’t expect it to be an eyesore in any case. I’m not that keen on towers in general, but provided they are not “randomly located” I reckon Dublin could do with a few more. (Demolishing the oldest one, Liberty Hall, would also be a good step.) And this doesn’t seem like a random location to me. It’s well away from the historic centre, overlooking Alexandra Basin, where humongous container ships dock. Incidentally I suspect that the suspended egg-shaped recording studio is intended to suggest a lighthouse, which is appropriate enough for the location – but that’s very much a layman’s guess.

    However there is little doubt that it will be known as Bono’s Boner. After all, this is the city where James Joyce penned a diatribe against his timid publisher:

    “Shite and onions, do you think I’ll print
    The name of the Wellington Monument?”

  • Probably the night-time view of the tower that was released is not the most flattering view of it; and I too have a lot of faith in Foster.

    By “randomly located” I mostly ment isolated, outside of a center with similar heights and densities, which, from the image, this appeared to be. It may be that this is the place in Dublin where one would theoretically want towers, but it still seems like a bad plan to have such a drastic disparity in height. As long as the tower is isolated, the neighborhood lacks proportion, and will be dominated by “Bono’s Boner” and there’s no garantee that a high-rise downtown will develop around the tower to make it fit.

    Good catch on the lighthouse reference; that hadn’t occurred to me and it makes a lot of sense.

  • Oh, this is sad. I adored Dublin when I visited that city about nine years ago.

    And if you asked me–then or now–why I loved it so, I would tell you about the ornate buildings with spooky stone corners around which I walked, half expecting a character from centuries past to bump into me; or else, the potatoes they serve in the pubs–chips, mashed, everything–that ruin you for eating potatoes anywhere else on the planet; or the cold, misty nights in the middle of June, cold enough to send you to the thrift store in search of a winter coat you never thought to pack because, well, June; or the fourteen red-haired and freckled children tumbling over one another in the playground alongside a four-hundred-year-old church; or the Irish people in general–the stories, the jokes, the obvious love of country.

    I would tell you about those things. I would not be rambling on about some oddly-placed, out-of-proportion building that stuck out , quite literally, like a sore thumb.

  • Mmmm…Potatoes from the source (sorry Idaho). I would travel many miles in search of Grade A starch; I’m adding Dublin to my visit list.

    The good news re: Bono’s Tower was there was a lot of negative reaction to the design, so hopefully it won’t get built in the proposed form. I too like that there are these traditional stone and masonry cities out there, where every view contains structures older than our whole country. And of course modern buildings need not fret; we’ll always have Dubai.

    Maybe you get tired of the way your home looks after 400 years, even if it is beautiful. Certainly Dublin-ers don’t need to maintain a picturesque ancient look just to please me. But…it would please me.

  • A few years ago I’d have to pay someone for this inofarmtion.

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